What would you do if you had 38 hours with nothing on your schedule?

Several ultramarathon trail runners are choosing to spend up to that much time running through the woods around Pine this weekend.

Elite ultra runners from across the country will converge on Pine for the return of the Mogollon Monster 100 endurance trail run.

The 100-mile race starts in Christopher Creek and ends in Pine. The 100K course begins near the Tonto Fish Hatchery and ends in Pine. The 35K has actually been changed to a 42K this year, making it a marathon. It starts at the Pine Trailhead and connects with the Donahue Trail climb and follows the same course as the 100-mile race.

The event features a 100-mile race, as well as 105 kilometer and 35 kilometer races.

The 100-mile race begins and ends in Pine, with runners traversing the Mogollon Rim. Runners will climb approximately 20,000 feet during the race, which begins at 5,300 feet above sea level and takes runners up to 8,000 feet at the top of the Rim.

The Mogollon Rim rises 2,000 feet in elevation, stretching for 200 miles across Arizona and New Mexico.

This race will test the best ultra runners.

“While other races are certainly at higher elevations, and/or with more climbing, they certainly do not contain as rugged a terrain that is found on this course,” reads a statement on the race website: mogollonmonster100.com.

“This is a very technical course in many areas, specifically the Highline Trail, Donahue and the soon-to-be-revered, Myrtle Trail. The first 40 miles will have nearly 9,000 feet in elevation gain. That coupled with the terrain, moderate elevation, and intense Arizona sun, this race will certainly take its toll on each runner.”

All entrants for the 100-mile race must qualify by completing at least a 50-mile race or greater before race day.

A wide range of temperatures at different elevations and time of day make it most challenging.

“Temperatures are typically in the low 70s to 80s along the Rim but can be drastically lower on top of the Rim, below freezing,” the website said. “Runners have been hypothermic at night and hyperthermic the next day at lower elevations.”

The possibility of monsoon activity just adds to the challenges.

Race founder Jeremy Dougherty posted a warning to runners.

“In our first five years on the 106-mile course, we only saw 99 runners finish this course. We gave out three sub-24 buckles. Only 14 women finished. One year, 2014, we had to cut the race short at the halfway mark due to extreme weather. This race and this terrain can destroy you. Nobody eases their way through the Monster. Do not underestimate this race. If you are not a self-sufficient runner you will fail here.

“This is an extremely hard, remote, rugged, and difficult 100-plus mile ultramarathon. We purposely hold this race on the rim because we want to keep this a small, ‘old school’ ultra where runners have come to this quaint town of Pine to experience the sheer beauty of the area, find their way from point A to point B, with sufficient support and guidance from trail markers and volunteers along the way.”

Only the 105-kilometer race was held last year.

In last year’s 105K race, which featured 23 finishers, Andy Chrysler, 32, of Idaho Falls, Idaho won in 13 hours 27 minutes 29 seconds. Nine entrants didn’t finish and one didn’t start.

Seventy-eight runners finished the 100-mile race in 2019, with Nathan Moody, 43, of Los Alamos, N.M., winning in 21 hours 33 minutes and 04 seconds.

Nineteen people finished the 2019 105K, with Zachary Ryerson 31, of Longmont, Colo. winning in 15:24:17. Five didn’t finish.

Rim Runners manager Honey Albrecht, who lives in Tonto Basin, is competing in the 100-mile race and three other local runners — Payson’s P.J. Pethalsky and Skye Lammers and Tonto Basin’s Jamie Roberts — are entered in the 42K race.

Aravaipa Running is putting on the race.

Contact the reporter at kmorris@payson.com

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